KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah formally launched the Rs4bn Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women Support Programme on Tuesday at an impressive ceremony held at the Chief Minister House.
Under the programme, which will benefit 500,000 poor women in the first year, each MPA will be given 1,000 forms to be given to women who they deem deserving. These poor women will get a monthly support income of Rs1,000.
However, while addressing the ceremony the chief minister said that this programme was set for launch in September but since the spadework was a very difficult task, it was being launched in December.
He directed the law minister and MPA from Larkana, Mohammed Ayaz Soomro, to get the due process of filling the forms completed before Dec 27, the day on which President Asif Ali Zardari would give cheques to poor women in Larkana.
He said the recipients of the income would get Rs6,000 for six months – September 2009 to March 2010 — and then it would be paid to them quarterly.
The chief minister pointed out that at the centre this programme had been started as the Benazir Bhutto Income Support Programme, whereby one million poor women would benefit, but in Sindh it had been launched under a different name.
He said that this class of women had been ignored in the past and he did not think anyone in the past had ever conceived such a programme and there was still a need in society to empower women financially in keeping with the PPP manifesto.
He also pointed out that earlier the Sindh government had started the distribution of agriculture land among landless haris. He said during the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the landholding for landless haris had been kept at 16 acres but this time the PPP government was giving 25 acres of land and each acre was not less than Rs500,000 to Rs1 million.
He said that under the Women Support Programme the amount would be given to only those women who had no source of livelihood.He made it clear that if a woman would be getting support under the Benazir Bhutto Income Support Programme, she would not be eligible to getting support under the Women Support Programme.